Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A painting day.

A painting day? It's really more like a painting moment because that's just about how long it lasts. But, I still love getting out all their painting supplies and arranging the table for them to paint. I love how excited they get when they walk in the room and see all of those beautiful colors in front of them. I love watching them examine all of those blank pages ready to be filled with whatever ideas they have floating around behind those wide bright eyes.  And then, as quickly as it begins, it's over and they are off running towards the next thing with similar enthusiasm. And then again, it's on to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. I am usually trailing behind somewhere picking up all the debris that's left on the floor, floating through the air and sticking curiously to the walls.  I spend far more time putting it all away than I ever did setting it up. That's the way it is with most things. Painting is different.

The paints come out of their special place in our cabinets. Some blank pieces of paper make their appearance and take their spot just at the feet of the water colors. A water cup is carefully chosen(because I like to use a pretty one), filled (with warm water, I don't know why.), and then gently laid down right in the middle, center stage.  Setting up to paint so deliberately carries with it such an excitement for the experience to come.  Of course I could just throw out all the supplies on the table and say "There. Now paint." and I have certainly chosen that method on some of my more frustrating days as a parent, but mostly I prefer not to. With intentionality (and if that's not a word it should be), painting starts to look and feel more like a ritual, something honored, rather than just another activity to rush through. Of course they still rush through it, but it's nice that in some special and meaningful way it just feels different.

I remember reading something about that when Owen was just a baby, but it didn't matter enough to me then to really give it much thought. Now though, I think of it each time we set up to paint. I remind myself that any activity we are preparing  has the potential to be a special, thoughtful and meaningful process (bedtime and mealtime immediately come to mind here) it's just simply deciding which activities we will choose to make special in our lives.

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